Another early start today, I carried my bike and loads of tri crap down our 80 stairs all at once around 5:15am. Anyone who lives in a high floor walk-up knows about the 'carry as much as you possibly can to avoid multiple trips' method.
The drive is peaceful and calming, so I started the day on a mellow note. I got there early, peed a number of times and stretched my cranky hip a million different ways. I ran into Baker, a friend from Tuesday speed workouts and we chatted and killed time for a while before heading to the beach.
Despite 80+degree water temps, I still got a handful of "no wetsuit?" comments. I'd rather freeze to death or get nibbled at by fish than get into a wetsuit for a swim. I was in the second wave of the swim which went off 2 mins after the first. I plan to email NY Tri and suggest that they either put me in the first wave or leave more time between waves. I caught the first wave easily which is frustrating because you catch the worst swimmers first (read:breaststroke kick to the head, crooked swimmers..I could go on and on) and you have to weave through them. Ick. After the turnaround though, I got free of the struggling back-of-packers and had some free space to pick up speed. I caught Baker on the way out and trotted into transition with him and his friend.
The bike is not exactly a strength for me, but at least I'm not flailing like the bad swimmers or hitting anyone. I hopped on and began the almost immediate climb. Oy, the ITB pain I'd worked on eliminating all week was still there. Oh well, I sucked it up and enjoyed the ride. On past rides, I've gotten into a groove but not really pushed myself to ride hard. Essentially, I don't know how to race on a bike yet. Today I had a better idea of my abilities thanks to my 43 mi tough ride last week so I was able to look at my speed on my computer and say, "hey, this is NOT fast enough. Get going." It was hard, but it helped keep me in race mode. That is tough to do for 16miles, especially on the long climbs. Somewhere along the way I was able to put the knee pain in the back of my mind and just keep moving.
The run at this race in June was too slow, there's no other way to put it. After a 7:24avg 10K at NYC tri, I knew that the 8:10ish pace I did last time was pathetic. This time I knew it was mostly uphill out and downhill for the last mile, so I went out as hard as I could. After the first 1/2 mi of tight-legged trotting, I found my legs and set off to catch the guys ahead of me that passed me on the bike. 7:56 first mile, 7:36 and ??. It was a progression run, and I'm much happier with those splits than last time. I finished with a little burst of speed and a sprint urged by Baker, who was finishing his run as I'd been starting mine. I felt really good.
I hadn't seen a lot of women during the race AT ALL. I saw about 4 on the bike, 2 I passed and 2 passed me (I hunted them down and passed them on the run) and I saw just another few on the run. That was very different than last time also. I told myself that it was a good thing.
In the end, I took 2nd place in my age group with a time somewhere around 1:37-1:40. I'm not sure exactly. Whatever the time was, I'm really happy because it is an improvement on 2 months ago and I got my revenge. :)
Too bad my IT-band is angry at me for getting on the bike again. Back to self-rehab.